Expert advice

Workforce: Immigration of skilled younger nurses keeps our NHS running

With ‘self-sufficiency’ in NHS staffing yet to materialise, the UK relies on skilled workers from abroad to maintain viable services

With ‘self-sufficiency’ in NHS staffing yet to materialise, the UK relies on skilled workers from abroad to maintain viable services

Distance can give perspective, sometimes. Browsing in a newsagents in Australia, I came across an international weekly edition of a major UK daily newspaper. The headline was about immigration, the tabloid obsession.

The paper had good news and bad news for its core readership. The ‘good’ news was a big reduction in net migration to the UK from European Union (EU) countries, while the ‘bad news’, from its pro-Brexit ‘island fortress’ perspective, was that non-EU migration to the UK had increased.

Although it seems like this stance has little do with UK nursing, the same narrative is being played out with EU nurses leaving the UK – or delaying a decision to come – because of Brexit uncertainties.

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